There was frost on the lawn this morning and snow showers are coming. When the weather gets colder Minnesotans like me start to think of hot soups and stews. Some consumers buy commercial soup and stew, but I prefer to make my own because I can control the ingredients and the salt.
What would I fix for dinner tonight? I checked the freezer and found some beef chunks, so I decided to make stew. Though I started with a recipe from a cookbook, tit turned into something different, due to the vegetables I had on hand. To give the stew a smoky undercurrent of flavor I added crumbled bacon. A little pizza sauce (I had an opened jar in the refrigerator) also added an undercurrent of flavor and color.
Extra salt was unnecessary because the bacon was salty and, though I used a low salt soup base, it contained enough salt. Before long, the smell of simmering beef and vegetables permeated the kitchen. If you're longing for a warming, comforting meal my beef stew recipe may fulfill your longing. The stew meat you use should be cut into medium-sized chunks, not tiny pieces. (Tiny pieces will break down and disappear in the sauce.)
This recipe gives you a chance to feed family members extra vegetables. Omit the onions if your kids don't like them, and add a teaspoon of onion powder instead. Make double batch of stew and freeze the rest for another day. Warm up the kitchen and yourself with this tasty recipe.
3 strips extra thick bacon
1 pound beef stew meat
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup petite carrots
1 cup celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
8-ounce box of mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/3 cup corn starch (approximate)
3 tablespoons water (approximate)
Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet and set aside. Brown beef chunks in bacon fat. Add the browned beef to slow cooker and crumble the bacon over it. Add all remaining ingredients except cornstarch. Cover and cook on high for three hours or on low for five constantly with a rubber spatula. If stew isn't thick enough add more corn starch dissolved in water. Serve stew in a bowl with crackers or crusty bread, over mashed potatoes, over rice, or over baked biscuits. This recipe makes six servings.
Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson
Before she became a health and wellness writer, Harriet Hodgson was a food writer for a local magazine. She is the author of 33 published books. Her latest releases are "Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss" and "Help! I'm Raising My Grandkids." Visit her website and learn more about this busy author.
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